Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My World Tuesday: Passover Feast at Mt Albert Baptist Church

In preparation for Easter, my pastor Jonathan Dove of Mt Albert Baptist Church had a special table in the church to illustrate the Passover dinner. He invited two teens from the church, and another church goer to join him in his feast. As an ESOL teacher, I was very impressed with all his "teaching aids" to make his sermon interesting.

Jonathan surprised us with a special Passover lunch outside the church. I am most impressed with L, the lady serving the lunch. You see, L had broken her leg, and it was in a cast. She was on a wheelchair. She put me to shame and showed me a very fine example of being a good servant.

The lunch is as good as what you can buy from a lunch bar. The other lady was P, and together. they filled up the pocket bread with couscous and roast lamb. Yum, our very own New Zealand lamb.

I won't tell you how many servings Sam had. I guess he will remember this special lunch for a long long time.


I started following Jan's site because I like her. I like her, she is a battler, I like her, she is a survivor. I like her because I share her ideals. We both care for the environment.

Here is what Jan wrote:

I started my gardening blog not just to document the happenings in my yard. I am also a cancer survivor, and named it to honor the life we are given every single day and to remind myself to never take that forgranted. My blog has gradually taken on a life of its own and interactions with other like-minded souls have become a welcome addition. I tend to write when inspiration strikes and time allows, rather than on a specific time schedule. I hope you'll visit whenever your schedule permits and time allows!

In recognition of Earth Day, April 22, 2010. Please join in!

This allotment is what I call a piece of paradise on earth. It may not even an allotment. In USA, they are called community garden. I am told, in UK, people pay some rental to the local council to plant in their allotment.

In Singapore, the university gave us a plot, so that the residents don't plant any where they like and hence disrupt the neat and tidyness of the place.

My friend K just moved to a retirement home where she has her own little unit. The gardener was very kind to let her have a little plot in the allotment.

One day, I was walking along Mt Eden Road. I have not walked this road for twenty years. In between two buildings was this gem down in the valley.  It was so beautiful, just what I would dream about.
There was a man working down there, so I was discrete when taking the pix. I suppose if I told him I was a keen gardener, he would kindly show me his crops.
The garden was between two buildings, I wonder if an original building had been torn down, and the place left to become a bush. The man took it upon himself to make this garden. He puts me to shame with his manicured garden, and my unruly one.
There is a company which teaches people how to garden. I don't think the man in the pix needs anyone to teach him.

Yes, anyone can have a garden. I told fellow blogger BengBeng planting flowers are for the eyes and for the soul.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Save the World, Green Thursday: Save our trees, Save paper


Do you notice any difference with these letter boxes compared with other boxes? Is it the residents in these apartments are more meticulous with clearing their mail and junk mail? If you walk around your neighbourhood, is this the scenario or is it more likely that junk mail is shrewed around the ground surrounding the letter boxes. This was a pain when I was living in a high class environment in Singapore. Some residents emptied their mail boxes, took their mail and threw the junk on the floor. Others left them sticking out of the slots. This caused a lot of unhappiness among the residents. Eventually, the management provided a big box for people to throw the junk paper into.

In Auckland, we can put a sign, "no circulars", and no commercial mailers or flyers are to be deposited in these boxes. If they do, a phone call to the company will mean the sacking of the person delivering the mailer and ignoring the signs.

Thus we get a clean environment, and trees are saved.

The down side of this is young boys and girls are deprived of earning some pocket money, Below is a post I did based on Sam's experience.

In New Zealand, the youngest age you can be a paper runner is eleven. Sam, my money minded son couldn't wait to turn eleven so he could join the ranks of hundreds of little children delivering newspapers.

His was a free newspaper which some household would consider as junk mail. The week he turned eleven, there was a vacancy for a paper runner for a loop for three roads couple of roads away. He was all excited and feeling like an entrepreneur, and emailed his application. The agent rang back to confirm his age and gave him his job.

On the first day, by seven am, three big stacks of paper arrived at the letter box. Each stack was too heavy for me to heave. But as a doting mum, I did it for him, I folded the paper into three folds so that they would fit into slots of the letter boxes. And looking at the pile, I told him, I would help him do his run by driving him there, and deliver the other side of the road for him.

Sam came home feeling excited about his first job. It was a cold wet winter afternoon. It took us more than one and half hour each to finish the run. We were shouted at by those who didn't want this free paper. There were signs at some letter boxes which say, "No circular", but the news paper agent told us that his news paper were not circulars. Some people who regarded the paper as junk shouted at us. We were barked at by dogs. At the end of the day, he got less than US$2.

I thought it was child exploitation. I told Sam, he had his go at business venture. That was the first and last time he was going to be a paper boy. He was very happy, he would rather play with his friends or at the computer.

These kids were considered contract workers, and not protected by the union. In another paper run, the company decided to use adult workers, depriving what little money the kids can earn.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sunday Stills: A Day in the Life

This is my life on Saturday, March 27th, 2010.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, Sam goes to karate. We work out a system, I drop him at the Wesley Club, and the water engineer picks him back. Sam at 13 grew taller than me.

Handy man Ann? Hardly. This is once in a blue year or decade. I had to make a cross for our visual table for my Mt Albert Baptist Church Adult ESOL class at Easter. I made a cross, but it was too long and had a stake. Here I am sawing it off with a hand held saw. It was hard work.

Most Saturday is a washing day. Today is a fine and breezy day. My bedding will be dry and crisp and smell heavenly.

I am great in recycling. The city council supplies a big recycle wheelie bin with a blue lid. Everything that can be recycled is picked up every fortnight. I am not a big fan of this system, as they still required people at the plant to sort the different items. I believe we can sort the items ourselves.

Here is a game by the British Council which I encourage my kids play. They have fun playing and learning. http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-games-green.htm If you have young children or grand children, you will enjoy playing the game with them.

Sunday Stills, the next challenge: A Day in the Life
Posted in Sunday Stills Challenge of the Week, the next challenge with tags Sunday Stills, Sunday Stills Challenge on March 21, 2010 by Ed

This could be the biggest challenge yet so here are the rules. Pick a day in the upcoming week and take your camera with you, no archives. Take and post no more than 4 pics during the day that show how you spend the day. For some this will be a breeze and for others you may have to go out and do something. Just remember no more than 4 pics and no archives..:-))

Saturday is a day of rest from work, but it is not a day of rest from household chores and motherhood responsibilities. Thank you Ed, the rest of the day, I am at the computer. LOL

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Friday Shootout: Bridges

I was trying to think outside the square, when I saw this poster at a video shop, I thought this would suit the bridge of our nose.

This is a bridge for the train. I drive on this bridge to and from work. When I come home, the train always comes to this station.

This is a Huntly, we stopped there to have our picnic dinner, and it was freezing cold.

I think it was an Auckland suburb, and the overhead brdige is very long.
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The next four photos are the many bridges of Hamilton as they span across the Waikato river in Hamilton city. The waikato is the biggest river in New Zealand. I did a post saying there are 6 bridges. Fellow bloggers Pete and Dave have posted photos of this river. http://ann-mythoughtsandphotos.blogspot.com/2009/10/my-world-tuesday-hamilton-bridges.html

This Mangere bridge links Auckland to the International airport. http://ann-mythoughtsandphotos.blogspot.com/2009/09/watery-wednesday-mangere-bridge.html

Here is a walkway which lets people walk over a swamp. This is next to the Mangere Bridge.

I used my computer to change my colored photos to sepia. If there was any function to change it to B & W. I couldn't find any. It was only about 30 years or so when all the photos I had taken were B & W. Today, it has become fashionable again.

Thanks Elaine.



“When I suggested ‘bridge’ as a theme for one our shoot outs I was originally thinking of the type that spans water. However, the more I thought about it, the more I contemplated the varied meanings of the word. So I hope we’ll have a broad range of photos and that we might see ones that portray most of these definitions:

1 a : a structure carrying a pathway or roadway over a IMG_3124edepression

2 : something resembling a bridge in form or function: as a : the upper bony part of the nose; also : the part of a pair of glasses that rests upon it b : a piece raising the strings of a musical instrument c : the forward part of a ship's superstructure from which the ship is navigated d : the hand as a rest for a billiards or pool cue; also : a device used as a cue rest

It has also been decided that this will be our first assignment to be shot in black and white so have fun and to borrow a phrase from the Irish, fill yer boots!”

Elaine Dale, A Scattering

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My World Tuesday: Yakutia/ Russian horse whip: "deybiir" (pronounced as 'day-bee-r').


I have been visiting my Yakutia friend frequently and she has told me a lot of this Russian State.

By 2012 Yakutia will be the native land of all Russian horses
Friday, 25 April 2008

ImageBy 2012 livestock of horses in Yakutia is going to be 80% of entire horses population in Russia - stated Roman Dmitriev, the head of Minselkhoz (the Ministry of Agriculture), on Monday at the conference with the President of the republic Vyacheslav Shtyrov.

According to him, since 2006, herd horse breeding, as the leading traditional branch of stock raising in the republic, is included in priority national project “Development of APK” and as a separate subsection - into the state development program of agriculture of Russian Federation during the years 2008-2012.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 27 February 2010 )

She showd me this horse whip which is used for ceremonial purposes.
The horse hair whip in Yakut (Sakha) called "deybiir" (pronounced as 'day-bee-r'). She also tells me that they rear a special breed of horse for their meat.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Save the world, green Thursday: To Dam or not to Dam

These photos are taken in a dam in Auckland. The stump in the water shows the death of trees when the water floods over the land behind a dam.


You would probably have guessed that I am a pro environmentist and a green activist. I care for the earth and am passionate about what we are doing and not doing to save the earth. Having been married to a water engineer has taken me first hand to many dams in New Zealand. While often it is necessary for dams economically for farmers and drinking water and power supply, it is important that the delicate ecology of the land is not ruin.

In the place of my birth in Borneo, the Rejang River has been proposed to have a dam built in one of the tributaries. The Bakum Dam has attracted international opposition. Once I traveled to another river which had a dam been built. I saw lots of little islands. I asked my guide and she told me that the islands were once hills. People have been dispersed and taught to become fisherman instead of their traditional farming.

Today, on our National TV, I watch as a group of Native Americans come all the way from California to call their salmon to go home. Their salmon are dying out when the Sacramento River was dammed. Our Maori people gave them a warm welcome.

A group of Native Americans have arrived in Christchurch on a spiritual journey which they hope will ultimately result in salmon being re-established back home.

The salmon in their own rivers are dying out but they are thriving in New Zealand after being introduced around a hundred years ago.

Twenty-eight members of the Winnemem Wintu tribe plan to perform a ceremonial dance next week by the Rakaia River to lure the fish back to California.

Tribe members also hope to take some salmon eggs back to California.

The Chinook or Quinnat salmon are native to the Pacific but are in short supply in northern California, mostly due to the damming of the Sacramento River.

For several years, tribe members have highlighted their cause and their connection with the salmon they have lost, but their voices have fallen on deaf ears.

New Zealand's Fish and Game though says they are fully in favour of helping the American tribe to repopulate the Sacramento River with the salmon.

"Some time soon those salmon will come home, when US Fish and Wildlife wake up and realise they are not a foreign fish," Chief Caleen Sisk-Franco of the Winnemem Wintu tribe says.

"It's OK to bring them back to their home waters... It'll be good for everyone."

Fish and Game say once the red tape is sorted out at the American end, exporting fertilised salmon eggs will be easy.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sundaystills: color orange

Orange for important signs.

An adventure to the Goldie Bush & Mokoroa Falls at the Waitakere's in West Auckland.

I went with my friends in school for their "Walkie Talkie " tramp as we hiked a loop walk through regenerating forest and up Mokoroa Stream. We saw spectacular double waterfalls, natural swimming pools, stream-walking adventure, and a wide variety of flora.

It was welcome to The Lost World: Jurassic Park. For it was in New Zealand that this movie was made. Once inside the track, you see little orange triangles to show you the way. Deviate from the route, you may be lost and even death.

It was the hardest thing I have ever done. We started from school at 9.30am, drove to the entrance after half and hour. We didn't get back to the car until 2.15pm. It was mainly because I was a newbie and had a hard time catching up. It involved a lot of team support and leadership. It was even harder than when I ran the quarter marathon. When I was climbing what seemed to be a zillion steps, I wanted to give up. But K was a good leader and told me to rest and catch my breath. At times when I had to climb up rocks or down a bank, she helped me. My orange sign of "Thank you" is for all of them.

After an arduous adventure, there is satisfaction of achievement. I joked with the water engineer, because I went on my own volition, I have no one to blame for my scraped knee and sore muscles. But if it was organised by him or his friends, he will never hear the end of me complaining.

Go on to my other blog, and you will LOl when I am planning with the water engineer another adventure.